2021: 5 Things We Are Thankful For
Much like the year before it, 2021 was another unprecedented year at MANNA FoodBank. The ongoing pandemic continued to affect the daily lives of everyone in our region, as the need for food throughout WNC remained well above pre-pandemic numbers. The growing gap between families’ incomes and the spiking costs of living here in WNC – particularly housing costs – continues to put deep pressure on thousands, and we still see record numbers of people coming to our markets and partner pantries for support with food.
But thanks to the dedication and compassion of people like you, we have been able to respond when our community needs us, and provide families with local produce, nutritious staples and food that not only fills plates, but also inspires hope.
As we begin 2022, we recognize that despite the hardships of the past two years, there are many parts of 2021 that filled us with immense gratitude. Here are just a few of the many things we’re thankful for from this past year.
Volunteers. In 2021, thousands of dedicated volunteers showed up to help pack food boxes, sort produce, drive trucks, move pallets, candle eggs, label packages, pack MANNA Pack and Summer Packs, and so much more. In total, over 2,400 individual volunteers donated over 54,000 hours to addressing hunger in WNC. That’s the equivalent of 28 additional full time employees! We are beyond grateful for each and every volunteer and recognize that every aspect of our work to end hunger is touched by the hands and hearts of our volunteers.
Partner Agencies. Our network of partner agencies are driven by their commitment to the local families and individuals in their area. All of our partner agencies, most of whom are volunteer-led, work tirelessly to provide support for everyone who comes to their doors. Thanks to their partnership, we moved a record amount of food in 2021 to meet the need we continue to see. In our last fiscal year, MANNA and our partners served over 125,000 individuals every month on average. We are deeply grateful for this network of people who are dedicated to supporting their community, every day of the year.
Organizations who helped support MANNA’s Work and Mission. Thanks to these incredible organizations for their significant support of MANNA and our mission throughout 2021. Thanks to their contributions, families throughout the 16 western-most counties of WNC, including the Qualla Boundary, had food to put on their tables when they needed it most.
Food Donors. Looking back upon this past year, we are filled with gratitude for the public and private partners who donated food, even amidst profound supply chain challenges affecting the industry across the board. By donating such large quantities of food, these organizations made sure that our neighbors throughout WNC were able to eat.
Individual Supporters. In 2021, we were grateful for the individuals who stepped forward and answered the call to help us provide food with hope and dignity to each and every person who came to us needing food. It is an honor to serve families with this life-saving basic need, and our individual donors continue to make it possible for us to be there for everyone who needs us.
From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU for your inspiring dedication to helping the thousands of families we serve every day! We are grateful for you all!